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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

More Nestle lies and political double talk

In  June 2010, Baby Milk Action director Mike Bradey called for the public to contact/email Nestle:  "Nestle is promoting its baby milk with the claim it 'protects' babies and that it is, 'The new "Gold Standard" in infant nutrition'."  I wrote an email to Nestle with regards to their extremely misleading advertising campaign, and HEY!  they finally responded to it!

Dear Mrs Arnold,

There is no question about breast-milk being the best start a baby can have in life. To emphasise this, the following statement, "Important notice: Breast-milk is best for babies. Before you decide to use an infant formula consult your doctor or clinic for advice", appears on all our infant formula products. However, for infants who, for whatever reason, cannot be breastfed, it is critically important that a safe, high-quality alternative be made available.
Nestlé makes significant investments in R&D and technology to continuously deliver innovative products with scientifically proven nutritional benefits. We continue to make scientific and technical advances in the area of nutrition and we make sure that our infant formula products are “best in class” to meet as far as possible the nutritional requirements of non-breastfed babies.
The functional benefits that are encapsulated in the “Protect” logo are scientifically substantiated – the result of many years of intensive research on how best to improve the formula composition to stimulate the infant’s immune system. The logo helps distinguish this particular formula from other less advanced products but does not claim in any manner that infant formula is superior or equal to breast-milk.
Infant formula products are reviewed, registered and/or regulated by governments to ensure that consumers have technically precise and accurate information. In all countries where the “Protect” logo is used, it is consistent with the local legislative and regulatory framework.
For your information, the World Health Assembly does not formulate marketing standards – rather it makes health policy recommendations to Member States. It is up to each Member State to determine how it implements these policy recommendations in their own country, according to their development goals and their social and legislative framework.
We hope to have answered your concerns. Do not hesitate to contact us if you have further questions.
Gayle Crozier-Willi
Public Affairs
Nestlé SA

As I am in Canada, I immediately contacted INFACT Canada  and forwarded them a copy of the email.  Elizabeth Sterken immediately replied that, Yep, it was the usual Nestle cut & paste letter of B*llsh*t.  So Here is my response I'm sending back to Nestle lackey Gayle Crozier-Willi

Dear Ms Crozier-Willi,

Thank you for your response to my email.  However your cut & paste reply does not answer the questions nor shed any truth on the subject.

The WHO Code in no uncertain terms states that regardless of national legislation, manufacturers and distributors of artificial feeding product are responsible to adhere to the provisions of the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes (which you ALL signed). In country after country nestle violates the Code and puts infants at risk for increased illness and death. The WHO notes that over 1 million infants die every year because of insufficient breastfeeding, hence the urgency as again this year by the World Health Assembly for increased implementation to the International Code and this was especially directed at the industry.

WHA resolution May 2010:

Infant and young child nutrition

The resolution urges governments and the baby foods industries to strengthen their efforts to implement the Global Strategy on Infant and Young Child Feeding, The Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative and the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes. Including :

- to strengthen and expedite the sustainable implementation of the Global Strategy for infant and young child feeding including emphasis on giving effect to the aim and principles of the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes, and the implementation of the Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative;
- to develop and/or strengthen legislative, regulatory and/or other effective measures to control the marketing of breastmilk substitutes in order to give effect to the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and relevant resolution adopted by the World Health Assembly;
-to end inappropriate promotion of food for infants and young children and to ensure that nutrition and health claims shall not be permitted for foods for infants and young children, except where specifically provided for, in relevant Codex Alimentarius standards or national legislation;

Nestle's nutrition and health claims are not scientifically substantiated as you claim. If you go to the Cochrane Reviews on the addition of fatty acids (DHA and ARA) to infant formula the meta analysis notes that there is no evidence for the claims and that further research is needed.

As well the WHO does in no way recommend that infant formula be the next best to mothers milk when unavailable. The WHO recommends expressed milk, donor milk and wetnursing as preferable before infant formula.

If Nestle wants to be truthful, then it should admit to violating the Code and make compensation to the death and illness this has caused to millions of mothers and babies.  It is about time that Nestle  policed itself with some ethical actions, instead of promoting a product that has caused irreparable damage to societies around the world with their unethical marketing claims and promotions.
Ahhhhh... the joys of dealing with Nestle.  If you were involved with the June Baby Milk Action contact Nestle Movement, have you received a response from Nestle?  And if you did, did you respond to it and tell them to stop their lies?